Input offered on blueprint for learning

WAIMEA — Heather Kilar’s oldest child is in kindergarten at Kalaheo School.

“I want to know what the future is for him,” she said Monday night at Gov. Ige’s Town Hall meeting on Education at Waimea High School.

The meeting was in response to President Barack Obama’s Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, which was signed into law in December 2015.

ESSA returns authority over the public school system to each state.

“We are going to change the way we’ve been doing things — the one size fits all approach — and empower states in terms of what they should do for public education,” said Darrel Galera, chairperson of the ESSA Team. “This law changes that.”

Galera led the meeting to get input from the community on what the education system on Hawaii should look like.

“We’re here to listen and hear your thoughts, suggestions and ideas,” he said.

About 25 people attended, including parents, students, teachers, principals and HIDOE representatives.

Kilar said she heard about the meeting from a co-worker, Sarah Styan.

“I want to see what’s new in education,” she said.

Styan, who has a child at Waimea Canyon Middle School, said she attended the meeting to get a feel for what Hawaii lawmakers have planned for education.

“It’s a new program,” she said. “I wanted to understand and be aware of what’s going on because my child is going to be impacted.”

Prior to the start of the meeting, both women said they didn’t have specific ideas to offer to the ESSA team. Rather, they preferred to listen and let the information seep in.

“I want to be more involved, and stay more connected,” Styan said.

Kilar agreed.

“I want to be educated and learn what’s going on,” she said. “I plan to have an open mind.”

Galera will host another town hall meeting on education from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School.

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Jenna Carpenter, education reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or jcarpenter@thegardenisland.com.

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